Roland D-50 / D-550

Roland D-50 Image

The D-50 is an all-time favorite digital synth that's still just as popular today as when it first came out in '87. Once Roland's hottest digital synth, it competed against the Yamaha DX7, and was much easier to use. By joining 8-bit PCM samples with "LAS" synth-generated sounds, the D-50 is capable of unique and complex sounds. The PCM samples contained the attack transients, while the rest of the sound came from the Linear Arithmatic Synth (LAS) section which sounds very analog, with subtractive-style synthesis and low-pass-resonant filters. Built-in chorus and (for the first time) digital reverb are also included for giving your sounds space and life! It also has a joystick controller for real-time timbre manipulation. The D-50 was great for new and non-acoustic, percussive, ethereal and beautiful pads & sounds.

Roland D-550 Image

Roland D-550 Rack Version

Both the D-50 and D-550 benefit from the PG-1000 external controller which gives you very plain and simple slider/fader type control of all adjustable parameters of the synth. The D-50 includes MIDI on all 16 channels but because it is monotimbral you can only use one channel at a time. There is an upgrade which will give the D-50 and its rackmount version a full 16 channels of simultaneous MIDI multitimbral data communication. This popular synth has been widely used in all forms of music. Eric Clapton, Enya, 808 State, Jean Michel Jarre, Vince Clarke, Apollo 440, Eat Static, LTJ Bukem, Fluke, Information Society, Lab-4, Gary Numan, Rick Wakeman, Kitaro, Rush, Vangelis, Richard Barbieri, Boston and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran are just a few of the many satisfied users.

Lookup Roland D-50 / D-550 Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Roland D-50 / D-550? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

163 Visitor comments
December 22, 2011 @ 10:32 am
I just picked up a mint D-50 also I would love a copy of that book. thats very generous of you mick also found the PG-1000 on ebay.. Cant wait to get started on the vintage D-50 journey.
December 21, 2011 @ 3:33 am
I just got one of these with the PG-1000 programmer, man it's nice! I got a nice 54 page book with this, it's official Roland, the title is "Linear digital synthesizer D-50 book, Roland creative book". Inside it says: "This book is designed to introduce and explain the elements of the D-50 and LA synthesis in plain English and provide insight into getting the most music from this exciting new technology". Is anybody interested in this book, in that case, I could scan it and make it available if Roland doesn't mind.
Digi Fan
December 19, 2011 @ 9:48 pm
The all mighty D-50!! Beauty!!! Dream back in the day's! So much care went into the design, architecture and sound before this gorgeous digital beast hit the market. It was so dam expensive back in the days. Ended up with a D-10.
December 15, 2011 @ 9:05 pm
Hello Roland fans - I have a Roland D5 Multimbral linear synth (yes, must be like the first model ever made!) Was about to get rid of it when I discovered that apparently it has some of the best sounds for dance music production, a genre in which I am now starting to compose. I am excited to start sound creation when I figure out the sound editor. Does anyone know of anyone in the Colorado area who I could hit up for repairs, parts & advice on computer connectivity (I have a feeling it might take more than MIDI-USB cables to make things work...) Many thanks! Joie (
November 16, 2011 @ 6:18 am
My D-50 according to the roland serial number checker was made in August 1990! Must be one of the very last built. Anyone else got a 1990 one? If so the details on this page aren't correct. 1990 not 1989.
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  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 16 voices (32 partials with 2 per voice); 8 voices (using 4 partials per voice in Dual or Split Mode)
  • Oscillators - Digital LAS (Linear Arithmetic Synthesis) & PCM, 32 osc.
  • LFO - YES (3 x 2tones = 6 LFOs)
  • Filter - low-pass-resonant
  • Envelopes - ADSR envelopes
  • Effects - YES
  • #Instruments - Monotimbral (can be upgraded for multitimbrality)
  • Keyboard - 61 note keyboard with velocity and aftertouch
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Memory - 64 patches
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1987-89
  • Resources & Credits
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